IT'S so close. If Wingham wheelchair racer Luke Bailey can go under the qualifying time of 14.36 for the 100 metres at a meet in Canberra next September, he's off to the world championships in Dubai come November.
Bailey is just back from Switzerland where he lowered his personal best to 14.31 when winning a race as a member of an Australian team. However, he explained once isn't good enough.
"You have to go under the time twice,'' he said.
"My next competition's in Canberra in September and if I can go under the time I should be right to go the world champs. My coach reckons I'm a 70 per cent chance.''
Further down the track and Bailey is targeting a spot in the Australian team for the Paralympics to be held in Tokyo next year.
"If I qualify for the worlds then I should be a good chance of going to the Paralympics,'' he said.
"That's my ultimate aim."
He's now rated ninth in the world for the 100 metres, his pet event and 13th for the 200 metres. However, the 200 metres is no longer a championship event, so no longer on his radar.
Bailey said he was confident of reaching the qualifying mark when he headed to Switzerland. He was there for two weeks, competing in three events at two venues. He also raced in Switzerland last year and said the standard of racing was stronger this time around.
"That's how I like it,'' he said.
"Tough competition is better than no competition.''
He broke the qualifying time in a race he said was 'neck and neck' all the way with another competitor. Bailey drew clear in the last 10 metres to grab the decision. Winning and also breaking the world mark was the cause for double celebration.
"I didn't think I was going to get there at first, but I just kept going,'' he said.
He's still living in Wingham but will be heading to Newcastle this week with his coach, Andrew Dawes, hoping to find suitable accommodation.
Bailey said he needs to be closer to his training base if he's going to achieve his goals. As it is he makes the trip to Newcastle weekly for training, with the majority of sessions completed around Wingham.
"The roads at Wingham have got me to ninth in the world,'' he said.
"But if I'm to get faster I need to be in Newcastle.''
If I qualify for the worlds then I should be a good chance of going to the ParalympicsLuke Bailey
Bailey concedes he is concerned that the lack of depth in the 100 metres in Australia could hinder his efforts at Canberra.
"But I'll just have to prepare as best I can,'' he said.
It'll be a big month, as he also turns 22 in September.
"Qualifying for the world championships - that'd be a great birthday present,'' he smiled.